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  • Nicola

Chinese New Year – Koi Agar Jelly

Updated: Apr 16, 2020

Chinese New Year is coming up on January 28. It is one of the most important Chinese festivals celebrated and is observed by Chinese communities, Korean, Japanese, Mongolian, Vietnamese, Malaysian, Indonesia, Brunei, Philippines, Singaporean, and Taiwan. It is a major holiday for the Chinese. This year we are celebrating the year of the Rooster.

Chinese New Year is a occasion for family to gather and for the annual reunion dinner. Traditionally the family will clean the entire house to sweep away any bad fortune, and to make room for incoming luck. The home will be decorated in red coloured ornaments and decoration. Celebrations included are lion dances, dragon dances, fireworks and firecrackers, visiting friends and relatives, giving red pockets. For more details on

Chinese New Year, be sure to check out my friend over at The Smoo Diaries. She will have a amazing post on Chinese New Year and festivities.

New year dishes include specific ingredients or dishes with names that sound like prosperity, good luck or money. For example, Buddha’s delight is called “fat choy” which is “prosperity” in Chinese. Another dish is “nian gao” which means ”year high”.

Today’s post is Koi Fish Jelly. This Koi Fish Jelly symbolizes wealth and prosperity. 年年有余 nian nian you yu ~ the word ‘year’ 年年 or ‘nian nian’ in literal terms means yearly whereas ‘fish’ 鱼 or ‘yu’ 余 in literal terms means that you will have surpluses.



I purchased the Koi Mould from Tinland Cookware at 260 E Pender Street of Chinatown in Vancouver BC. However, you can also purchase it on-line at or



At your local grocery store or asian grocery store. I purchased mine from Gourmet Warehouse at 1340 E Hastings St.



Chinese New Year – Koi Agar Jelly Makes 1 Large Fish and 1 Small Fish


9 grams Agar Powder 100 grams Granulated Sugar 650 ml Water Raisins (alternatively use black sesame seeds) Food Colouring (red and yellow) Koi Mould Tweezers Toothpick


1. Make the agar jelly: Add water, sugar, and agar powder into a pot of water to boil, then lower to a simmer. 2. Stir until the sugar and agar powder has dissolved. Turn off the heat. 3. Next, take some of the agar liquid about 3 tablespoons into a small bowl. 4. Using tweezers, grab the raisin, dip it into the agar liquid, and then place the raisin into the eye of the koi mould (do this to both eyes... unless you want a one-eyed koi). 5. Add yellow food colouring to the bowl of agar liquid and mix well. 6. With a teaspoon, add a bit of the yellow agar mixture to the koi mould. It only takes about 1 to 2 minutes to harden. 7. Next, take some more of the agar liquid about 3 tablespoons into a small bowl. 8. Add red food colouring to the bowl and mix well. 9. With a teaspoon, add a bit of the red agar mixture to the koi mould. 10. When it has hardened, gently pour the agar liquid into the mould. Allow it to set. Find some bowls or cups to hold the mould steady! 11. Poke any air bubbles with a toothpick. 12. Once set, place in the freezer or fridge to chill for an hour. Once it is firm, you can easily pop the koi jelly from the mould, or if needed use a toothpick for assistance.



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